OH General Assembly passes SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and HB54 (Restoration of Rights); Kasich will sign!

Editor's Note: This article was updated as information became available.

The Ohio General Assembly has passed Senate Bill 17, sponsored by Senator Tim Schaffer (R), which will allow citizens who hold a valid concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry a firearm in restaurants. To do so, license holders may not consume any alcohol and must not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to OpenCarry.org, 42 states (including every state that borders Ohio) allow non-drinking license holders to carry firearms in restaurants.

The bill also reduces burdensome restrictions regarding how a license holder must transport a firearm in a car. Currently, Ohio is the only state to place such complex limitations on license holders. The bill also provides a way for people who were convicted of improperly transporting a firearm under the current law to receive relief if they would have been in compliance under the law as amended in SB17.

The House passed the bill by a 56-39 vote, and because a technical amendment had been made in the House, a concurrence vote was required in the Senate. The Senate quickly took up action, and passed the bill by a 27-9 vote.

Before the bill passed, anti-gun amendments were offered in the House by Reps. Ted Celeste (D), Matt Lundy (D) (who BFA recently exposed for having lied on his 2010 candidate survey by promising to vote for the legislation in order to win a good grade and an endorsement, only to reverse course within weeks after being in office), Tom Letson (D) (whose amendment would have created an implied consent mandatory breath test for Ohioans who choose to exercise their Consitutional right to bear arms), Sandra Williams (D), Bill Patmon (D) (who mispronounced the word "militia" as "mil-a-tee-a" while reading the Second Amendment and claiming the Constitution is a "living document"). All amendments were tabled or defeated - Celeste's by a 60-33 margin, Lundy's 57-33, Letson's 61-32, Williams' 59-33, and Patmon's 60-33.

Several House Democrats also rose with questions about or in opposition to the bill. Perhaps most egregious claim came from Rep. Clayton Luckie (D), who alleged the bill would cause licenseholders to be able to say "My drink is weak. Boom!"

The bill will now be sent to Republican Governor John Kasich. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kasich's spokesman has now confirmed the Governor plans to sign it into law.

[FLASHBACK May 18, 2011: Kasich's enemies happy to offer advice on how he can supposedly gain support by turning his back on gun owners]

The Senate also passed House Bill 54, sponsored by Reps. Ron Maag (R-Lebanon) and Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek), which seeks to align Ohio law with federal statutes regarding the restoration of rights to Ohio firearms purchasers. Having passed with a 24-9 margin in the Senate without amendments, the bill will now also be sent to Governor Kasich for his signature.

Ken Hanson, Legislative Chair of Buckeye Firearms Association, said, "These bills address three important issues facing Ohio gun owners and concealed carry license holders and seek to align Ohio law with federal law and the laws of our surrounding states."

Passage of this bill marks the culmination of more than two years of hard work for grassroots pro-gun rights groups in Ohio.

Buckeye Firearms Association would like to thank all of our friends in the House and Senate for their support of this important legislation, with particular recognition for Rep. Danny Bubp (R), who has been the leader in efforts to pass Restaurant Carry legislation in the House over the past two sessions, Senator Jason Wilson (D) who has been the leader in the efforts to fix Ohio's restoration issues in the Senate over the past two sessions, as well as committee chairmen Sen. Tim Grendell (R) and Rep. Bob Mecklenborg (R).


While the media are certain to publish yet another round of articles and editorials warning that the sky is falling, we think it is worth considering the words of Stacey Frohnapfel-Hasson of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) when asked for the department's position on a pending budget amendment which would increase the limit on alcohol content in beer from 12% to 18%:

...[T]he agency does not have an official position on the beer amendment.

"People of drinking age are expected to maintain a sense of responsibility for themselves," she said.


Media Coverage:
Associated Press - Ohio lawmakers vote to allow guns in bars, arenas

(This AP article, or versions of it, have appeared in dozens of news outlets around the state and across the country.)

Circleville Herald - New concealed carry law not popular with locals

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Guns in bars bill passes Ohio House, Senate concurs, Gov. John Kasich to sign it

Columbus Business First - Guns in bars bill clears Statehouse, heads to Kasich

Columbus Dispatch - Lawmakers vote to allow guns in bars, stadiums

Columbus Dispatch - Lawmakers send Kasich bill to allow guns in bars

The National Rifle Association, Buckeye Firearms Association and Ohioans for Concealed Carry all supported the guns-in-bars measure, which cleared the House and Senate with ease yesterday.

...The clout of gun supporters and Republicans who control the legislature was obvious yesterday. Although the bill was widely opposed by law enforcement, prosecutors, restaurant owners and many public officials, the House voted 55-38 to approve the measure. Minutes later, the Senate voted 25-7 to concur, sending the bill to the governor.

lumbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman was among those immediately calling on Kasich to veto it.

"As a member of Congress, Gov. Kasich compiled a strong record of standing up to the powerful gun lobby," Coleman said in a statement. "We ask him to do so again today. Gov. Kasich has an opportunity to stand with the overwhelming majority of Ohioans, including police officers, prosecutors, restaurant owners and even gun owners, by vetoing this legislation."

However, Kasich is expected to sign the bill. "I'm for the Second Amendment," he said of the right-to-bear-arms amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Columbus Dispatch - Arenas, stadiums will keep gun bans

The (UK) Daily Mail - What could possibly go wrong? Ohio passes law allowing gun owners to carry guns in bars

Jim Irvine, the head of Buckeye Firearms Association, a political action committee for gun owners that supported the legislation, said the measure brought Ohio's laws regarding the rights of gun owners in line with those in other states with concealed carry rules.

Dayton Daily News - Ohio Set to Allow Concealed Guns in Bars, Restaurants

Fox News - Kasich Will Sign 'Guns In Bars' Bill

Ohio News Network - Kasich Will Sign 'Guns In Bars' Bill

Linda Walker from the Buckeye Firearms Association said that businesses can prevent concealed weapons by posting a sign near the front entrance.

"They've already got guns in their bars and in their restaurants, but it's not by the law abiding citizen. It's by the criminal," said Walker. "We're not looking for the bartenders to enforce this any other way than they're already enforcing it."

...For Kasich, both the NRA and Buckeye Firearms Association endorsed his opponent in last year's campaign.

Despite opposition from the Ohio Restaurant Association and law enforcement groups to the concealed weapon bill, Kasich seems ready to support it.

"I'm for the 2nd Amendment and, yes, I am likely to sign it," said Kasich.

That's music to the ears of the gun lobby.

"We want to back Gov. Kasich, and we look forward to working with him," said Walker.

Port Clinton News Herald - Opinions mixed on allowing guns in bars

Ohio lawmakers' decision to allow concealed-carry-weapon permit-holders to enter thousands of establishments that serve alcohol won't cause any major problems in the state, said Linda Walker, the Central Ohio chairwoman for the Buckeye Firearms Association.

"There hasn't been a problem in the 42 states that have restaurant concealed carry," she said. "If there had been, don't you think that they'd have worked to repeal?"

Walker said she spends most of her time at the statehouse in Columbus advocating on citizens' gun and safety issues.

"We're very excited," Walker said. "It's been a long process, two and a half years in the making."

...Walker said the media has focused coverage of the issue almost exclusively on bars.

"I don't know the reason," she said.

Beyond the self-defense issues involved, Walker said, requiring CCW holders to leave weapons in vehicles when they enter restaurants is an open invitation for trouble.

"Criminals can break into my car to steal the car, laptop, keys, and now you're stealing my gun," she said. "Now you've got one more criminal on the street with a handgun."

Walker said the best place for a handgun is in the safe possession of a law-abiding citizen. And, she said, predictions by opponents of the legislation that permit-holders will be shooting up bars and restaurants just isn't accurate.

"We heard the same rhetoric in 2003," she said of the debate which originally established concealed-carry in Ohio. "They said it was going to be 'The Wild West.'"

Reuters - Ohio lawmakers vote to allow guns in bars, arenas

Jim Irvine, the head of Buckeye Firearms Association, a political action committee for gun owners that supported the legislation, said the measure brought Ohio's laws regarding the rights of gun owners in line with those in other states with concealed carry rules.

(This Reuters article, or versions of it, have appeared in dozens of news outlets around the world.)

Springfield News-Sun - Some bar owners to post 'no guns' signs

The Times-Reporter - Wilson joins 24 Ohio senators in passing concealed-carry bill

Jim Irvine, the head of Buckeye Firearms Association, a political-action committee for gun owners that supported the legislation, said the measure brought Ohio’s laws regarding the rights of gun owners in line with those in other states with concealed-carry rules.

United Press International - Ohio Legislature passes broad gun law

"We're really pleased. Finally. We've been working on this for three years," Jim Irvine of the Buckeye Firearms Association said. "We're only trying to help Ohio catch up to the 1990s. Ohio is really just catching up to almost every other state in the country."

(This UPI article, or versions of it, have appeared in dozens of news outlets across the country and around the world.)

WDTN (NBC Dayton) - Lawmakers mixing guns and beer?

WFMJ (NBC Youngstown) - Governor to approve changes to concealed carry law

WKBN (CBS Youngstown) - Bill Allowing Guns in Bars Awaits Governor's Signature


HOUSE VOTE TALLIES

Senate Bill 17

The question being, "Shall the bill pass?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 56, nays 39, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Representatives

Adams J.
Adams R.
Amstutz
Anielski
Balderson
Beck
Blair
Blessing
Boose
Brenner
Bubp
Buchy
Burke
Butler
Carey
Combs
Conditt
Damschroder
Derickson
Dovilla
Gardner
Gentile
Gonzales
Goodwin
Grossman
Hackett
Hagan, C.
Hall
Hayes
Henne
Hottinger
Huffman
Johnson
Kozlowski
Landis
Maag
Martin
McClain
McGregor
Mecklenborg
Newbold
O'Brien
Peterson
Phillips
Roegner
Rosenberger
Ruhl
Sears
Slaby
Sprague
Stautberg
Thompson
Uecker
Wachtmann
Young
Batchelder-56.

Those who voted in the negative were: Representatives

Antonio
Baker
Barnes
Boyd
Budish
Carney
Celeste
Clyde
DeGeeter
Driehaus
Duffey
Fedor
Foley
Garland
Gerberry
Goyal
Heard
Hollington
Letson
Luckie
Lundy
Mallory
Milkovich
Murray
Okey
Patmon
Pillich
Ramos
Reece
Schuring
Slesnick
Stebelton
Stinziano
Sykes
Szollosi
Weddington
Williams
Winburn
Yuko-39.


SENATE VOTE TALLIES

Senate Bill 17

The question being, "Shall the Senate concur in the amendments of the
House of Representatives?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 25, nays 7, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Senators

Bacon
Beagle
Cafaro
Coley
Daniels
Faber
Gillmor
Grendell
Hite
Hughes
Jones
Jordan
LaRose
Lehner
Manning
Obhof
Oelslager
Patton
Schaffer
Schiavoni
Stewart
Wagoner
Widener
Wilson
Niehaus-25.

Senators Brown, Kearney, Sawyer, Skindell, Smith, Tavares, and Turner
voted in the negative-7.

House Bill 54

The question being, "Shall the bill, Sub. H. B. No. 54, pass?"

The yeas and nays were taken and resulted - yeas 24, nays 9, as follows:

Those who voted in the affirmative were: Senators

Bacon
Beagle
Cafaro
Coley
Daniels
Faber
Gillmor
Grendell
Hite
Jones
Jordan
LaRose
Lehner
Manning
Obhof
Oelslager
Patton
Schiavoni
Seitz
Stewart
Wagoner
Widener
Wilson
Niehaus-24.

Senators Brown, Hughes, Kearney, Sawyer, Schaffer, Skindell, Smith, Tavares, and Turner voted in the negative-9.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.

Mission

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.

JOIN